Indulge in the fusion of two classic desserts with this No-Bake Apple Pie Cheesecake recipe, featuring a graham cracker crust, creamy cheesecake filling, and a delightful apple pie topping. Optional caramel sauce and vanilla ice cream add the perfect finishing touch!
Every recipe has its own story, and the No-Bake Apple Pie Cheesecake holds a special place in my heart. It all started a few Thanksgiving seasons ago when I faced a culinary dilemma: my family was divided between Team Apple Pie and Team Cheesecake. To avoid choosing sides, I decided to create a dessert that would unite both camps. After some trial and error, I found the perfect balance between the tartness of the apples and the creamy richness of the cheesecake. This recipe became a symbol of compromise and harmony at our family gatherings, and now, it’s a Thanksgiving staple that everyone looks forward to. Plus, it’s a no-bake wonder, saving me from oven scheduling gymnastics!
Why You’ll Love No-Bake Apple Pie Cheesecake
- No-Bake Ease: Perfect for busy holidays, this recipe requires no oven time, offering a hassle-free dessert option.
- Dual Dessert Delight: Combines the comforting flavors of apple pie with the creamy indulgence of a cheesecake, making it a crowd-pleaser.
- Customizable: It can be tailored with various toppings and flavors, ensuring it’s a hit for any taste preference.
- Make-Ahead Magic: Ideal for preparing in advance, this cheesecake sets perfectly overnight, reducing last-minute stress.
- Seasonal Sensation: With its autumnal flavors, it’s an excellent choice for Thanksgiving and fall gatherings.
Ingredients Notes For No-Bake Apple Pie Cheesecake
Creating the perfect No-Bake Apple Pie Cheesecake starts with understanding your ingredients. Here’s a breakdown:
- Graham Crackers: They form the base of your crust. Choose quality graham crackers for a firm and flavorful foundation.
- Cream Cheese: Essential for a smooth and creamy filling. Make sure it’s softened for easy blending.
- Cool Whip: Adds lightness to the cheesecake. Thaw before use for the best texture.
- Apples: Gala apples are great, but feel free to experiment with your favorite variety. The key is to have them fresh and crisp.
- Brown Sugar & Cinnamon: They’re not just sweeteners but the soul of your apple pie topping, infusing it with that classic, cozy fall flavor.
- Caramel Sauce & Ice Cream: Optional but highly recommended for an extra layer of indulgence.
How To Make No-Bake Apple Pie Cheesecake
Preparing the No-Bake Apple Pie Cheesecake is a delightful journey through simple steps, each adding its own magic to the final dessert.
- Graham Cracker Crust: Start by preheating your oven for the crust (yes, only this part uses the oven!). Mix crushed graham crackers, melted butter, sugar, and cinnamon until well combined. This mixture then gets pressed into a 9-inch springform pan, forming the crust. Bake it for 12 minutes until it’s nicely browned, and let it cool.
- Cheesecake Filling: Whip together softened cream cheese and Cool Whip until smooth. Gradually add sugar and cinnamon while mixing. This creamy filling is then poured over the cooled crust. Let it refrigerate for at least 3 ½ hours, or overnight, to set properly.
- Apple Pie Topping: Melt butter in a skillet, and cook the chopped apples until they soften. Mix water and cornstarch, and add to the apples. Stir in brown sugar, cinnamon, and vanilla extract, and let it thicken slightly. After cooling for a bit, this apple mixture is spread over the set cheesecake.
- Caramel Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream: For the optional but fabulous finishing touch, cook sugar until it melts and browns slightly. Off the heat, blend in butter, then gradually add whipping cream. Let this homemade caramel sauce cool before drizzling over your cheesecake slice, topped with a scoop of vanilla ice cream.
To keep your No-Bake Apple Pie Cheesecake as delightful as the day you made it, follow these storage tips:
- Refrigeration: Store it in the refrigerator, covered, for up to 5 days. The cold environment keeps the cheesecake firm and the flavors intact.
- Freezing: For longer storage, you can freeze the cheesecake (without the apple topping) for up to a month. Wrap it in plastic wrap and then in aluminum foil to prevent freezer burn.
- Thawing: If frozen, thaw it in the refrigerator overnight before serving. Add the apple topping and caramel sauce after thawing for the best taste and texture.
Variations and Substitutions
This No-Bake Apple Pie Cheesecake is wonderfully versatile. Here are some ideas to tweak it to your liking:
- Crust Variations: Swap graham crackers with digestive biscuits, or add nuts for a crunchy twist.
- Cheese Choices: If Philadelphia Cream Cheese isn’t your thing, any full-fat cream cheese will do the trick.
- Whipped Topping Alternatives: Replace Cool Whip with homemade whipped cream for a more natural option.
- Apple Alternatives: Feel free to use different apple varieties, or even mix in pears for a different flavor profile.
- Sugar Swap: Adjust the sweetness by changing the type of sugar, or use natural sweeteners like honey or maple syrup in the apple topping.
- Vegan-Friendly: Use plant-based cream cheese and whipped cream, along with a butter substitute, to make it vegan.
- No Caramel, No Problem: If caramel isn’t your thing, try a sprinkle of powdered sugar or a drizzle of chocolate sauce for a different kind of sweet finish.
No-Bake Apple Pie Cheesecake
Graham Cracker Crust
- 2 cups Graham Crackers finely crushed
- ½ cup unsalted butter melted
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 2 packages 8 ounces each Philadelphia Cream Cheese, softened
- 3 cups lite Cool Whip thawed
- 1 ⅓ cups granulated sugar
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
Apple Pie Topping
- ¼ cup unsalted butter
- 4 Gala apples peeled, cored, and chopped
- ½ cup water
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- ½ cup light brown sugar packed
- 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
Optional: Caramel Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 6 tablespoons unsalted butter cubed, at room temperature
- ½ cup heavy whipping cream
- 2 cups vanilla ice cream
For the Graham Cracker Crust
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Combine crushed graham crackers, melted butter, granulated sugar, and ground cinnamon in a medium mixing bowl.
- Transfer the mixture into a 9-inch springform pan, pressing it evenly into the bottom and sides.
- Bake for 12 minutes or until the crust is browned. Allow the crust to cool completely.
For the Cheesecake Filling
- In a large mixing bowl, whip the softened cream cheese and Cool Whip on medium speed.
- Gradually add granulated sugar, one-third cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Then, incorporate the ground cinnamon.
- Pour the filling over the prepared crust in the springform pan.
- Refrigerate for a minimum of 3 ½ hours, or preferably overnight, to set.
For the Apple Pie Topping
- Melt unsalted butter in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Add the chopped apples and cook for 6-8 minutes, stirring frequently.
- In a small bowl, blend water and cornstarch, then pour this mixture over the apples.
- Add light brown sugar and ground cinnamon to the skillet, stirring continuously. Allow the mixture to reach a slight boil and cook for an additional 2-3 minutes.
- Stir in vanilla extract and remove from heat.
- Let the apple mixture cool for 5 minutes before pouring over the prepared cheesecake.
Optional: For the Caramel Sauce & Vanilla Ice Cream
- Evenly distribute granulated sugar in a medium saucepan. Whisk continuously over medium heat for 8-10 minutes. The sugar will initially clump and then melt. Wait for it to turn lightly brown.
- Remove the saucepan from the heat and whisk in cubed butter until it is fully melted and integrated.
- Gradually pour in heavy whipping cream, continuing to whisk until the mixture is well combined.
- Allow the caramel sauce to cool for 10 minutes.
- Serve each slice of cheesecake with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and a drizzle of caramel sauce.